Review: “Dawn: FM” by The Weeknd

Abel Tesfaye’s sixth studio album “Dawn:FM” came with questions about how the artist known as the Weeknd could possibly live up to the standards and success of his last album “After Hours.”

“Dawn:FM” doesn’t represent the unique sound of “After Hours,” instead it has a consistent and cohesive listen throughout.

The album’s theme is centered around beats and sounds that you would hear from a retro radio station. Its 80’s inspired sound as well as passionate lyrics leaves the listener in a pleasant daze. 

The album’s opening track “Dawn:FM” serves to establish the themes of the album, those being a late night radio station and the afterlife. On the track “Gasoline,” Abel performs a paradoxical song about disaster and detachment from the body, but with a happy positive tone. 

Throughout the album, Abel flirts with the idea of the world ending while combining this idea with his normal love song style and themes of renewal and rebirth. 

This concept of the world ending, combined with a rebirth, leads to the creation of beautiful tracks that at times seem contradictory, but flow very smoothly and are conceptually complete. 

The Weeknd continues to develop these themes on the appropriately named track, “Every Angel is Terrifying.” The song is highlighted by its poetic lyricism, “Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angel’s order?” 

The highlight of the album for me personally is the track “Less than zero.” He uses wordplay with lyrics such as “I’ll always be less than zero” to articulate not feelings of worthlessness, but of exploring new dimensions of the afterlife and all its possibilities. 

Overall, this album puts the listener in a trance-like fantasy. Abel is able to build a world through his music that questions the perception and reality of the world we live in.